Bill Simmons had Aaron Rodgers on his HBO program Any Given Wednesday last night. The conversation was very enjoyable for me, a Packers fan. While Rodgers used to be quite candid on his long local radio interviews with ESPN’s Jason Wilde, those stopped happening last season. With Simmons, topics of discussion ranged from the 2001 Kings-Lakers series (Rodgers grew up outside Sacramento) to concussions (above) to the implication that the quarterback would like to finish his career in Green Bay.
Not brought up on the program, however, were Rodgers’ brother Jordan’s remarks this week on The Bachelorette.
“Aaron … like I said, I have a great relationship with my brother Luke,” Jordan Rodgers said on ABC’s airwaves Monday night. “Me and Aaron don’t really have that much of a relationship. It’s just kind of the way he’s chosen to do life. I choose to stay close with my family and my parents and my brother. It’s not ideal. I love him and I can’t imagine what it’s like to be in his shoes and the pressure he has, the demands from people that he has. Don’t have hard feelings against him, it’s just how things go right now.”
Now, obviously this story has little to nothing to do with Aaron Rodgers’ performance on the football field. However, Simmons and his website, The Ringer, cross over into pop culture, and this issue is in the public consciousness. The Channel 33 podcast vertical covers The Bachelor franchise, and Simmons has appeared on it himself.
Last week, Simmons had Chris Bosh as a guest, and did not ask him on-air about whether or not his medical condition, which kept him out this past season after February 9th, would prevent him from playing next year.
“I talked to Bosh before we did the show,” Simmons later explained on his podcast with his friend Joe House. “They did not want to talk about anything [involving] his condition on the show. I wanted to talk about Golden State; that was fine with me – I wasn’t going to ask him a question that he was just going to [mumble no comment]. It’s just bad TV. But [behind the scenes] he seemed really confident that he was gonna play.”
We don’t know whether Rodgers or his camp requested not to be asked about his relationship with his brother. (Or maybe Simmons did ask, and it got edited out and/or is going up on the HBO Go segment?) A rep for Simmons did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
If this was an agreement beforehand, that’s not an uncommon scenario with interviews with large public figures, but should it be disclosed to viewers? In the past, Simmons himself has acknowledged the grey area of whether or not he wants to be classified as a journalist.
This is also the third week out of four that major news relevant to one of his guests has broken in between taping and airing. On the premiere, Charles Barkley was a guest and Derrick Rose got traded to the Knicks. Last week Dwyane Wade left Miami before the Bosh segment aired. On Wednesday, Tom Brady’s latest court appeal was denied. Whether Simmons and his staff view this as problematic will be revealed if there is eventually a change in production schedule.
Previously, Simmons has gone after Mike & Mike for a softball interview of Rick Pitino, and Chris Berman for serving up cupcakes to Roger Goodell. Obviously, these situations bear some differences. Bosh and Rodgers are not and have not been embattled in scandal, and the questions that Simmons omitted with them were of a deeply personal nature.